Dr. Robert Berthold Jr. died peacefully on November 17, 2020 at the age of 79. Born on August 2, 1941 in Paterson, New Jersey, Dr. Berthold was a college professor, a beekeeper, a candlemaker and tinsmith, a runner, a coach, a husband and father.
After earning degrees from Juniata College, Rutgers University and Penn State University, Dr. Berthold (aka “Doc”) went on to teach biology, entomology and apiculture at Delaware Valley College, now Delaware Valley University, for over 30 years. He was a member and officer of the Bucks County Apiary Society, the Montgomery County Apiary Society and the Eastern Apiculture Society. He shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for beekeeping in many short courses and workshops all over the world. He published numerous articles on beekeeping and queen rearing and authored a book titled Beeswax Crafting. He worked as an apiary inspector for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for over a decade. He was well known for his bee-beard demonstrations at A-Day.
Running was an important part of Dr. Berthold’s life. A star athlete in high school and college track and cross country, he was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Juniata College for his accomplishments. He coached men’s and women’s cross country and track at Delaware Valley College for over 30 years. He started the first women’s cross-country team at Del Val, and founded the Turkey Trot, a race that has run each fall to this day. He took several running teams to the MAC championships. His quirky sense of humor infused his team workouts and award ceremonies. His efforts to instill his love of running in his children and wife were met with mixed results.
On August 6th,1966, Bob married his sweetheart, Marren Cummings, on the square in Morristown, New Jersey. They honeymooned in Cape Cod. Together, Bob and Marnie shared many decades raising children, gardening, preserving food, traveling, attending events at the college, and enjoying evening walks hand in hand.
Dr. Berthold was known for his off-color jokes, for his love of safety and routine, for his dedication to oral hygiene, for waking up very early to make candles and candle molds in the basement while humming loudly, for his love of Laurel and Hardy and Sha Na Na, and for his voracious reading of anything from science journals to science fiction. He was an inventor and craftsman, skilled at both making and fixing things. He had a long relationship with his Gravely tractor, which he kept running for at least 4 decades. He was known for his ideas about healthy living, ranging from wheat germ and vitamins to his home-made High Energy Candy.
Dr. Berthold is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Marren, and his children, Heather and Rob, Rob’s wife Lara, and three smart, sassy granddaughters, Ruby, Cora and Kyla.
Dr. Berthold’s family would like to thank the Park Creek Place Memory Care Community and Grane Hospice Care for their compassionate care and attention. A celebration of Robert’s life will be held at a later date.
Donations in his name to provide ongoing support to the beekeeping community can be made to the Montgomery County Beekeepers’ Association of Pennsylvania: https://www.montcopabees.org/Bee-Involved